Content Marketing Strategy from Scratch – Ultimate Guide
Expect yourself to be able to create an extraordinary Content Marketing Strategy from Scratch, if you follow along.
Let’s start from the basics:
Are you one of the lots who heard that *Content Marketing is the future* but do not know how to make that future?
Employing a Killer Content Marketing Strategy, of course.
What is bugging you next is, “How to Create a Content Marketing strategy from scratch that helps you meet your goals?”
Prepare to roll up because today’s post is all about how to prepare to win the content marketing race.
Moreover, we will share the step-by-step process of exactly how to do that.
How to Create a Killer Content Marketing Strategy from Scratch?
Here is how!
1- Set your goals
Why do you want a content marketing strategy in the first place?
You are running a business, and you want to make it prosperous.
How prosperous do you want it? What exactly is your business goal?
Have you set business goals yet? Have you categorized your goals into the long term and short term goals?
The definition of *prosperous* would change with your changing goals.
Setting your (reasonable, achievable) goals to achieve them before you begin planning is crucial. It is so important that you shouldn’t consider yourself creating a killer strategy that nails it for you if you bypass this step.
Here are a few examples of goals you might set for your business:
- SEO Excellence
- Authority in your niche
- Educating, inspiring and/or engaging audience
But the key here is to make your goals achievable by setting a limit.
Because MORE TRAFFIC is a vague term that could mean different measures by different members of your team. However, making it 50% more traffic (followed by a time frame) makes it easy as an apple pie for everyone on the team to understand. That is how all your team and their efforts can stay on the same page.
After setting the goals comes the next important step, doing what correctly ensures the effectiveness of the process and vice versa. Researching your audience is important to know and understand them better.
The importance of understanding your audience for your business’ success might be far from understanding for most beginners. However, this is a crucial step, most crucial for the beginners themselves.
Because the way you reach your audience, outline topics for them, create content and distribute it is influenced mainly by your understanding of your audience or prospects
The process of understanding the prospects leads to the development of an ideal client’s persona. It is worthwhile to know here that the ideal client’s persona is not and shouldn’t be a constant factor.
You should revise your audience personas, preferably once a year, to keep up with your audience’s interests and other variable factors. Additionally, you could develop several personas to match different stages of your marketing cycle.
For creating an ideal client’s persona, conduct surveys, find your prospects everywhere on the internet (online forums, Social media, etc.) and interview your existing clients. Ask them all the questions that give you an insight into what your ideal buyers are like and what their preferences are etc.
Here’s an example of a client persona by the marketing insider group.
Source: Marketing insider group
The next important step in the creation of Content marketing strategy is setting your Key Performance Indicators. This is how you assess if you are meeting your goals, and to what extent?
Setting KPI helps you fine-tune your process to improve by pin-pointing the loopholes in your process. Now, how does that happen? Here’s how.
With the help of KPIs, you have specific milestones that you check your content performance against. Each time you achieve a milestone, you know your performance.
You know you are underperforming if you couldn’t reach 1000 email subscribers milestone set for 3 months. If your content ranked in the top 3 before the timeframe you set for it, you know you are going faster than you planned.
Along with the time frame, you might as well set the cost of a process for assessing your performance.
Once you know how you are performing in each of the areas, optimization becomes easier.
Now on, you’d have content all around you. You’d be swimming in content all the time.
No frowning, please. That’s how the cookies crumble.
So, how do you think are you going to manage this volcanic eruption of data every now and then?
As a rule of thumb, there must be a system to handle all your content. A marketer would call it a Content Management System.
Some enthusiasts go as far as calling a CMS the backbone of Content Marketing. The reason is that this is where you’d produce, analyze, update, and publish your content while keeping everything organized.
So you wouldn’t be wrong to do the same.
Here are a few popular platforms you can pick from:
If you are new to Content Marketing, it doesn’t mean you are new to Content creation. Being in a running business is a fine clue to the fact that you already have some data, some content out there.
Now is the time to analyze that content for its performance. You need to check your current standing. The only way you could leap towards success fast is to understand where you stand right now.
For that, you’d have to evaluate all your current content to see if it helped you any bit in achieving your goals. This is where you’d fish out the factors that did not let your content attaining its goals and the ones that did. You’ll figure out the content gaps and other factors that could help you improve your existing content and prepare a better strategy for upcoming content.
Here are a few names that you could use for your website audit:
3- Dyno Mapper
Most of these audit tools base their results on overall SEO conditions. For the sake of content audit and competitor’s research (keywords gap in your content), you can focus on the relevant metrics.
You might already have figured out the best content marketing channels for your efforts at the audience research level.
However, it is best to give this research (of the best suitable channels for your business) some dedicated time.
Determining all the channels that are suitable for you is critical, especially if you don’t want to lose on any of the prospects. Therefore, find out all the Social Media platforms and internet touchpoints where our audience is found hanging and come up with a strategy that catches them there.
These are some of the most famous social media platforms used for business purposes:
We have already tried doing a good job (that’s what we strive for in everything we do), explaining the concept of Content Sprouting or Seeding Content.
Content sprouting is the repurposing of your existing main content (called seed content) for different platforms (called sprouting).
You read more about seed sprouting and pollination in the mentioned blog. However, the idea that you can use the same content for multiple platforms emphasizes the fact that posting your content on various channels is fruitful. It also points towards the importance of using numerous kinds of content in your branding and promotions.
As already pointed out in our blog post on Content Marketing, here are different types of content that you might have come across (and might plan to go with as well).
|Posts on Social media||Webinars||How to guides|
|Case studies||Guest posts||User-generated content|
|Interviews and success stories||FAQs||Live videos|
|Videos||How to guides||Stats|
|Downloadable content||User-generated content||Live videos|
|Infographics||How to guides||Courses|
|Reviews||User-generated content||Tools and plugins|
Are there any more content types?
These probably are many more types than you’d have imagined possible as a newbie, but interestingly there are still many more that remained uncovered here.
Some more options could be:
|Opinion posts||Q/A session||Dictionaries|
|Opinions and Predictions||Announcements||Audiobooks|
What types do you decide to go with depends mainly on your business and niche, popular channels, and content types among your prospects and your resources. However, no matter what the nature of your content is, the purpose of your content should be providing high value to your prospects.
Now that you know the kind of content you’ll create and the platforms you’d produce it for, the next important task is to mark your Calendar.
Update your calendar with:
- What topic would you post about?
- On what channel would you like to post?
- What content type would you use?
- At what time and date would you post?
This is exactly the step where you’d decide what content to repurpose (Content Sprouting) for what platforms and when would it be a suitable time to post it?
Also, you decide what content to repost on what channels on what dates (and time).
You mostly pick the day & time to post content on each channel based on the analysis of general-practices for each platform. But based on your audience response and engagement pattern, you’d come up with the most suitable time and date based on your own audience.
Have a look at this content calendar templates by Hubspot and Kapost.
Source: Upland Kapost Blog
(This content calendar template by Kopost is an excellent resource calendar for scheduling your content. It is an interactive, filterable calendar for multiple options like date, has a key for a proper understanding of the calendar at the top, and creates ease of coordination with assigned tasks such as content publishing, creation, submission, etc. with date and day specifications).
Now that you have decided what content types you would produce (and how much of each), you have an idea of the roles you need for getting the content ready.
Now is the right time to make the hirings.
But initially, you might not have enough resources to hire all the roles you need.
Read more about the important Content Marketing team roles that experts hold to get and inspiration. Also, read important considerations for making the hirings.
Here are some of the hiring options you might try considering:
- Determine what roles you cannot make do without based on your calendar requirements and what hirings could wait for a while? Go with the urgent hirings first based on your goals.
- Also, try filling in some positions with a multi-talented option (but in no way are we emphasizing or supporting overloading any employee).
- If that doesn’t work, try hiring freelancers that are paid just for the work they do (not full time because this is how you hired them even if you do not have work for them). No, we are not trying to promote the culture of under-paying employers here.
Also, see the pros and cons of an In-house vs. content marketing agency for another option. If the decision feels difficult, flipping a coin might help.
10- Get Content creation started
Your content calendar is in place. Content creators are hot and trot (you might have used the wrong of the six senses if they are not. Looking into the issue sooner than later would nullify the need to show your wisdom teeth to ensure your wisdom).
Set your brand tone (casual, formal, or professional or whatever!)
And get them -the content creators- to work. Let them create an amazing impression for you; take the world by storm. Let them achieve your business goals.
But hey! It is not the hibernation time yet; You are not even close!
In fact, the most important job you are entitled to starts here.
Be the boss!
And by being boss, we don’t mean or want you to be rude or mean or something. We intend for you to be just the top banana here.
Lead the way. Guide the team. Make sure that everyone’s on the same page. Make sure that the end product is the coordinated effort of the whole team.
Or get ready to pay for not being the great leader you were supposed to be (and for paying the bills straight out of your personal account instead of the business one).
11-Publish and promote your content
- Content created – check
- Transformed into the final form – check
- Proofread – check
Time to go home?
You might do that as well if it is the time.
But, is it the time yet?
Not until you post it on the platforms it is meant for, and strategically promote it.
And the importance of promoting the content is no less than the significance of posting it. In fact, a content posted but not promoted well is as good as a content not produced yet. Both are just-not-there for the audience.
So, your promotion plan must follow your posting plan. For that, it is recommended to have a dedicated help to:
- Reach out to the experts that you quote in your content, to share the content with their followers.
- Focus on Content sprouting/seedling/repurposing to ensure a wider reach.
- Share the same content elsewhere on all your digital platforms. Make good use of email marketing here.
- Repost your content on different platforms once in a while.
- Encourage social sharing.
Have a look at our blog post, Content Marketing tools and Resources iv, where we have included several tools to promote and automate your content sharing.
Hang in there. You are almost there!
This is just the last stroke, and your picture is complete.
Now, what tools you use depend mainly upon what results do you want to track. For instance:
1- Google Analytics is used to track the effectiveness of your website content and marketing efforts. It gives in-depth information about your audience and their behavior on the website.
2- Followerwonk provides the analytics with about your twitter followers, tweet analytics, etc., if that’s what you are interested in.
3- The analytics platforms of each social media channel you use, i.e. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc. give you quite in-depth stats of whatever metrics interest you.
Is all your content producing the results you planned for it?
Are all the milestones being achieved?
Yes? You deserve a huge round of applause for being one of the very few — glad tidings for the happy times ahead.
If No is your answer, for now, No worries; you’re not alone here. There are millions out there who see that happen to them each day.
But do those millions thank god for not being alone and move on?
Some of them might just as well do that, ruining all their efforts to date.
But everyone’s not just as witless and dense. The success seekers take new actions to undo past actions that caused a decline in results. They don’t erase their mistakes but do what you’d expect of a wise older man. They learn from their mistakes.
And learning from mistakes points to the fact that they make changes – changes in the strategy aiming to change the results.
And if it doesn’t work one time, do not forget – Content marketing is all about experimentation and A/B testing.
If it hasn’t yet, your time will come.
If it already did, did someone say VACATIONS AHEAD! Well, you’re good to go (after creating and implementing your strategy, though).
Content Marketing Strategy from Scratch – Summed up
Let’s summarise it all.
Content Marketing Strategy is not an ordinary document. It is a process that ensures your productivity at its peak while aligning your efforts to your business goals. If your results do not measure up, the document guides you to improve.
Here’s what the process should resemble:
1- Set your goals.
2- Research your audience
3- Set your KPIs
4- Choose your CMS
5- Analyse your current situation
6- Determine the most useful Channels
7- Decide your prime content types
8- Work on your Content Calendar
9- Determine your team roles and the workflow
10- Get Content creation started
11-Publish and promote your content
12-Measure and optimize results
The process might seem complicated, at least for the first time, but you’d get where you’d call it a piece of cake.
You’d get there if you really want to.
You’re up Next
We have tried making the process as simple as we could. Now that we have done our bit, it is about the time you get started with yours.
But before that, share your feedback with us. Let us know if you’d like more details about some topics. We’d be happy to dedicate our time and effort to something that produces results for you.